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How Unions Help Build the American Dream

How Unions Help Build the American Dream

Both Democrats and Republicans stress that the ability for people to move up the economic ladder to build better lives is at the heart of the American Dream. But new data from the Pew Center on the States pits the Republican tenet on economic mobility against another deeply held Republican belief that unions are a heavy and evil anchor on the economy that must be cut away.  

Where there is a strong union movement, there is more economic mobility. If unions are strengthened, upward mobility will increase.

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Kochs Send Millions to Silence California Workers with Prop. 32

Illustration Courtesy for AFM Local 47

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch could be the poster boys for the big money special interests that are dumping hundreds of millions of dollars in this year’s elections on the national and state levels. Last week, it was reported that the American Future Fund (AFF), a front group for corporate special interests that’s linked to the Kochs, dropped $4 million into the effort to pass California’s Prop. 32.

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Wisconsin: Get the Facts on Act 10 Ruling

Wisconsin: Get the Facts on Act 10 Ruling

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt and Secretary-Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale send us this.

On Friday, Sept. 14, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas granted summary judgment in favor of Madison Teachers Inc. and others, finding many basic provisions of Act 10 violate the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions and are therefore null and void.

Judge Colas found that the restriction limiting the increases on general municipal employees’ base wages only to the consumer price index (CPI) if bargained by a union burdened employees’ rights to free speech and freedom of association, since the limitation applied only to municipal employees represented by a union.

The judge held the prohibition against payroll dues deduction and the annual recertification election requirement by 51% of those eligible to vote burdens freedom of speech and association rights of those employees who support unions.

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Minnesota: Young Workers Showing New Ways to Lead

Minnesota AFL-CIO Young Workers Convention was held last Sunday.

This is a cross-post from Workday Minnesota. 

No one would blame Nicholas Perez and Cheri Stewart if they decided the problems facing their generation are just too big to tackle.

After all, unemployment among 16- to 24-year-olds stands at more than 17% and is even higher for young people of color. Many college graduates are burdened with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Older workers often stereotype the millennial generation as self-absorbed and “lacking a work ethic.”

Perez, Mitchell and some 20 other young workers who participated in the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s Young Workers Convention on Sunday have experienced it. They’re not throwing up their hands, however—they’re organizing. Many are finding new ways to lead within their unions.

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Why 6 Million Americans Didn't Vote in '08 and What You Can Do to Change That

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, Sept. 25

Did you know in 2008, 6 million Americans didn't vote because they missed the registration deadline or didn't know how to register?

Make sure all your friends and family are ready to vote this November. Send them to

If you’re not sure, go ahead and register now. Visit to double check. 

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Union Sportsmen Volunteer at Youth Conservation Camp Center

USA photo

Laura Bliss-Morris of the Union Sportsmen's Alliance sends us this report.

As part of a Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Boots on the Ground project, volunteers from Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 30 helped put the finishing touches on a new facility that will host youth educational programs at the Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center.

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GOP Rep.: The Pa. Voter ID Law Would Only Disenfranchise 'Lazy' People

Just in case you were concerned about the more than 750,000 Pennsylvania voters who would be disenfranchised this November—thanks to the state's new voter ID law—Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Pa.), who sponsored the law, assured Pennsylvania residents during a radio interview that the law would only disenfranchise "lazy" individuals. 

Astonishingly, Metcalfe took a cue from Mitt Romney and claimed these individuals who are "lazy" are also the 47% "living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work."

Actually, the "lazy" 47% are the working poor, senior citizens (who paid into Social Security and Medicare throughout their working lives), active military personnel, students and people with disabilities. How dare these people want to vote?

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CWA, IBEW Reach Deal with Verizon

CWA Photo/Flickr

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW) have reached a tentative contract agreement with Verizon. The two unions and Verizon had been in federal mediation since July.

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Working America: Another Way to Join the Movement

Join Vicki and Working America to make a difference in your community.

Check out the AFL-CIO's new Innovators website feature, "Working America: Another Way to Join the Movement." 

One day in Havertown, Pa., a neighborhood organizer in a red shirt knocked on Vicki’s door, asking how Vicki felt about cuts in her state’s school budget. A retired school teacher who has a grandson with special needs, Vicki worried the cuts her governor was pushing would eliminate resources for special education. 

Vicki was already angry about these cuts. She felt that one of the most important people in her life was being targeted. But until that day, she felt powerless to do anything about it. Like so many people, she thought she couldn’t change the process, and that her elected leaders weren’t listening. Then someone showed up at her door with a solution—a strategy to change things.

Read the rest of "Working America: Another Way to Join the Movement."

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Workers Say Federal Aid to Auto Industry Saved Jobs and Manufacturing Industry

When the American automobile industry was on the verge of collapse in 2009, Mitt Romney said he’d let it go bankrupt. President Obama engineered a recovery program that put this vital industry back on its feet and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, not just at the auto plants, but up and down the supply chain and throughout American manufacturing. This new video from the United Steelworkers (USW) tells that story through the eyes of the men and women of USW Local 903 at the Gary, Ind., Dana Holding Corp. axle plant. 

Watch USW's new video and share it on FacebookTwitter and all your social networks. 

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